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The current usage of spent-laying hen meat has been limited due to the toughness and non-juicy texture of its cooked meat. The objective of this research was to improve tenderness of spent-laying hen breast meat using alkaline or acidic solutions. Three hundred pieces of spent-laying hen breast meat were randomly arranged into 10 treatments including control (no marination), marinating with distilled water, sodium bicarbonate (SBC) (0.10, 0.15, 0.20, and 0.25 M), and lactic acid (LA) (0.05, 0.10, 0.15, and 0.20 M). SBC increased (p < 0.05) the pH of raw and cooked meats, whereas LA decreased (p < 0.05) the pH of those meats. High concentration of SBC and LA decreased (p < 0.05) lightness values on the surface of the cooked meat. A decrease in shear force values (p < 0.05) was found in the cooked meats with margination due to an increase in water-holding capacity (WHC). Microscopic images of cooked meat illustrated the porous structure in SBC marinated meat. In addition, the clear gaps between each muscle fiber were observed in cooked LA marinated meat. Muscle fiber diameter of the marinated samples was greater (p < 0.05) than those of the control group, indicating the swelling of muscle in the marinated samples. Therefore, marinations with SBC and LA increased tenderness of the cooked meat by either increasing WHC or changing muscle structure of the meat. Based on the current findings, solutions of 0.10 M LA and 0.15 M SBC can be potential marinades for improving tenderness of spent-laying hen breast meat.
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